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The smart grid is a modern form of the traditional power grid, which brings computer technology to a standard electricity grid; allowing easier communication between energy retailers, distributors, and customers.

Smart grids can help to integrate an increasing amount of renewable energy sources (RES) into the grid. RES present a challenge to traditional electricity grids because they are often both intermittent and difficult to predict. Smart grids help network companies to remotely anticipate and respond to problems so repair crews from your local distributor can fix power outages faster.

Energy companies and businesses are already exploring how to adopt RES into the grid but they lack Smart Grids management skills and knowledge among employees. This new MSc programme therefore offers a unique advantage to its graduates in an increasingly competitive job market with highly-sought expertise, giving you the skills you need to launch a career in this fast-growing sector.

The teaching on the course is research-led, and you will have opportunity to learn from the real-world, cutting-edge live projects. You'll also have the opportunity to undertake placements / internships with leading companies in the energy and smart grids sector, both in the UK and internationally.

Learning and assessment

The programme utilises a range of learning methods to offer a personalised, research-led, and digitally rooted learning experience with a holistic, international focus.

At the centre of this strategy is the focus on problem-solving through the use of creative, analytical, logical and innovative thinking, and through networking and communicating effectively with peers.

The teaching delivery team includes internationally-renowned researchers and practitioners from all the relevant smart grids and energy systems areas, including power systems, control system design, modelling and optimisation, wireless and communication systems, big data analytics and artificial intelligence and IoT. We have secured several funded projects, ensuring students will be exposed to cutting-edge knowledge and case studies. 

Facilities and Placements

The unique teaching content is supported by state-of-the-art facilities, including software programmes GAMS & MATLAB, and hardware contained in dedicated laboratories:

  • Electrical and Electronics Engineering lab
  • IoT Innovation lab

The research and development carried out in these labs, along with case studies from publicly funded high profile projects, ensures that course content is fresh and cutting-edge, and that you as a student will be exposed to the very latest and future developments.

There are several placements/internships available for home and international students with leading companies in energy and smart grids sector in the UK and internationally, including:

  • Electricity North West Limited (ENWL)
  • N-ERGY
  • Nortech Online in the UK, and Elin BioFuel, Greece
  • International Energy Research Centre, Ireland

Working in the smart grids and energy systems sector

As a smart grid and energy systems engineer you can be involved in designing, constructing, commissioning and lifecycle maintenance of complex energy production, smart distribution and transmission grids.

Your work can include renewable energy integration into the grid, planning and operation of smart grids, controlling energy systems, energy storage systems, management and efficient use of energy in building, manufacturing and processing systems. You can also be involved in work relating to the environmental and economic impact of energy usage.

Examples of the types of jobs you could be doing include:

  • Designing new smart transmission and distribution systems
  • Managing maintenance and repair
  • Managing operations and planning of existing systems
  • Managing operations of a wind farm and solar photovoltaics
  • Analysing the efficiency of hydroelectric power systems
  • Evaluating the economic viability of new solar/wind power installations
  • Assessing the environmental impact of energy systems.

Career prospects

Integrating renewable energy sources into the existing power systems in order to meet the governmental targets worldwide introduces several challenges for network operators.

This new programme aims to deliver skilled graduates able to meet these challenges, with the required knowledge and expertise in smart sustainable energy systems and the Internet of Things (IoT).

This programme is unique in its focus on the multi-disciplinary aspect of smart grids (i.e. combination of power and energy systems, Big-Data analytics, IoT, Artificial Intelligence, and economics of smart grids).

The shortage of smart grids and energy systems expertise among employees and management is viewed by the industry as the biggest obstacle to integrate renewable sources more extensively.

There are thousands of vacant positions available for power system engineers across the UK. There is also a shortage of power systems and smart grids engineers in the UK according to the Home Office website (code 2123 for power system engineers). This also applies internationally, with most parts of the world actively looking to adopt renewable energy integration into the grid, and make the existing grid smart, secure, affordable, efficient and reliable.

Therefore, this programme offers tremendous job prospects for graduates, with a wide range of businesses, start-ups, governments, councils /municipalities and large conglomerates wanting to invest in the use of smart grids and renewable energy sources integration into the existing grids but struggling to find skills.

The programme offers unique advantages to its graduates in an increasingly competitive job market with highly sought skills. For example: power system and smart grid analysis, smart grids operation and economics, artificial intelligence, big-data analytics, control systems, environmental law, and sustainability in the built environment.

Research

The University of Bradford has a strong presence in Smart Grids, IoT, Big Data analytics, smart technologies, and network management as part of several national and EU research projects.

These projects include:

  • British Council SITARA project for smart grids operation using IoT and Big-Data analytics
  • CASAGRAS 2 project on IoT and Big-Data analytics
  • British Council BLESS U project for enhanced smart health services

Visit the Smart Grids and Energy Systems page on the University of Bradford website for more details!

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